Help for overweight horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-28-2011, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Help for overweight horse

I think we're picking this girl up this weekend Great horse, extremely easy keeper - actually needs to lose a few pounds. Right now she's a backup riding horse so probably gets ridden every few weeks, and stays fat (as you can see) on one flake of alfalfa a day. I plan on riding her 3-4 times a week; I've never had to put a horse on a diet or think about weight loss, and I'm looking for advice on the safest/healthiest way to help her lose some pounds. We have dry lot turnout here and give psyllium for sand colic. Thanks!
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-28-2011, 04:59 PM
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What kind of hay do you feed? She may be fat on alfalfa, but with grass hay she may need more hay.

I would also cut out her grain ration completely.

How hard do you plan on riding her/what do you plan on doing?
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-28-2011, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of hay do you feed? She may be fat on alfalfa, but with grass hay she may need more hay.

I would also cut out her grain ration completely.

How hard do you plan on riding her/what do you plan on doing?
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We feed alfalfa also so would continue with that. She doesn't get any grain, either. I'll do light trail riding with her and basic w/t/c sessions in the arena. It's more work than she's getting now so I'm thinking if even continue to feed her the same, the additional work will help her lose the weight...?
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-28-2011, 07:52 PM
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I think if you give her regular work she should be alright. Honestly, I don't think she looks bad, I think she looks perfect, but she does have a bit of a wormy belly. But that picture isn't super big and my eyesight isn't awesome!
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 12:43 AM
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Worm her. Lunging or trotting undersaddle helps. If she's out in pasture all day you could buy her a grazing muzzle.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 09:51 AM
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Why is the alfalfa necessary?

Just curious as to why she can't have grass hay.

What I would do is make use of that dry lot you mentioned, and with the increase in exercise you will be giving her, she should drop a few pounds and tone up very nicely.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 10:15 AM
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Why is the alfalfa necessary?

Just curious as to why she can't have grass hay.
I'm going to say based on the picture, she lives in the west. Alfalfa is the most abundant, locally grown and cheapest hay available. Grass can be very limited and often gets trucked in so the price is out of reach especially this year.
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-29-2011, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Left Hand Percherons View Post
I'm going to say based on the picture, she lives in the west. Alfalfa is the most abundant, locally grown and cheapest hay available. Grass can be very limited and often gets trucked in so the price is out of reach especially this year.
Nailed it. Southern California.
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-02-2011, 09:03 PM
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She eats 1 flake a day and is not on pasture? This just doesn't sound like it could be possible. Anyway, I would just worry about ulcers if her stomach is empty all day. The alfalfa is good because it does contain high levels of calcium which buffers stomach acid, but I don't think that this would outweigh the negatives of not having anything in the stomach all this time. All I can say is that maybe a grass hay would be the best option although it is more expensive...at least you will save money on grain ;)
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-10-2011, 10:35 PM
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I don't think you necessarily need to switch hay, just soak her alfalfa for several hours before feeding it to remove most of the nutrients and sugars out of it. This way you can feed a bit more than solely a flake daily to keep her digestive track in good shape without worrying about her packing on the pounds - I believe this + regular work should keep her a safe weight.
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